By Jay Mwamba
Former St. Barnabas coach Tom Whitty scored twice last Sunday to lead Saint Barnabas to a resounding 3-0 victory over Shamrock S.C. at SUNY-Purchase on the opening day of the 1999-2000 Cosmopolitan Soccer League season
Whitty’s goals (12th, 65th) capped an inspiring start to the season for the hitherto troubled Saints, who, at one point during the offseason, had decided to pull out of the CSL First Division. Paddy Murphy (35th) was the other scorer.
"We didn’t think that we’d have the players to be a force in the First Division," said Saints manager Aidan Dennis, whose side nonetheless shot straight to the top of the table.
The organization instead decided to consolidate its three teams by merging its Third Division side with its senior and reserve teams. Whitty proved it was the right move.
"In the first half, we completely outplayed them, although they had their chances," Dennis said. "I hope we can keep it up."
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Naill Swan gave the Shamrock reserves a 1-0 victory.
Ronan Downs’s New York Athletic Club, the CSL defending champs, showed that they haven’t forgotten how to win by topping Banatul S.C. 1-0 at Travers Island. Gregg Smallings (40th) connected.
"We had a lot of chances but just couldn’t convert them," noted coach Downs. "But we have a very nice team and expect to do well this season."
Promotion side New York Dinamo made a successful debut in the First Division, outgunning 1998-99 titlists New York Croatia, 5-3, in Boonton, N.J.
Dinamo’s new Argentine signings, Marcelo Sanchez and Sebastian Aria, starred, with Sanchez, a 22 year-old former San Lorenzo youth prospect, bagging a hat trick (25th, 55th, 65th), and Arias (70th) scoring once and winning a late penalty that Mured Ibrahimov converted.
Croatia, who forfeited the reserve fixture, replied through Rob Gretton, Yassine Tazi and Vlatko Vuletic.
Up next for Dinamo this Sunday is a grudge match with Shamrock at Downing Stadium.
"It will be payback time from two years ago," vowed Dinamo player-coach Kristo Curanovic, still sore over a 4-3 loss to the Shamrocks in the last game of the 1997-98 season that enabled the Irish side to beat out Dinamo for promotion to the First Division.
Matt Salamon (22nd, 30th) and Sinon Selnan (65th) led Fairfield/Westchester United to a 3-1 victory over New York Albanians at West Beach in Stamford, Conn. The Albanian reserves were routed 9-1. New York Hungaria, meanwhile, drew 2-2 with Polonia S.C. Joe Tasko (40th, penalty) and an 86th minute header by Joe Fulop secured the point.